The History The Jaguar story is one of rags to riches. It was for 50 years, the story of one man who created one of the worlds greatest automotive names, a company renowned for style, performance and quality (3, Jaguar History). A young man by the name of William Lyons started a small company called Swallow Sidecars, which originated in the northern seaside town of Blackpool. Here, as a young motorcycle enthusiast, he met William Walmsley, who was building sidecars for motorcycles. The stylish sidecars caught the attention of young Lyons.
He felt that there was great potential if the activity could be organized along business lines and the production increased to make the operation viable. After several years the restless Lyons saw a better opportunity for his Swallow Sidecar Company. The company did special bodywork for a car called the Austin Seven, and in 1927 created a most stylish, two-seater for the little car. Soon, Swallow bodies followed for larger companies like Morris Cowley and Fiat (3, Jaguar History). Lyons was not content with just building bodies for other car companies.
In 1931 he came out with his own line of SS cars, the SS I and the SS II coupes. These cars caused a great sensation at the London Motor show. The body was sleek and low to the ground, and they were a good value for the price. In 1935, William Lyons needed a unique name for his cars. He did not select Jaguar at first. Sunbeam Motor Co.
was for sale and he made arrangements for the company to be bought and a new line of vehicles called Sunbeams were to be produced. Fortunately for us, the Rootes brothers, a rival car company, stole the name. Lyons advertising agency then provided a list of animal names suggesting a new image for the cars. Jaguar was selected and the name has stuck with them ever since. During WWII the company planned a new engine that would establish the company as a world force.
They chose an advanced overhead camshaft layout for their straight six engines; it would put out 160 bhp. Lyons then designed a body to match the greatness of the engine they had created. This was the birth of the XK 120. Just to prove to you how great the combo of the engine and body was, a standard XK 120 would clock 126mph, the fastest production car in the world. As the 1950s came around so did newer cars from the company that had made its name with the XK 120. In 1950 the MK VII Saloon was unveiled.
It was a five-seater powered by the XK engine. It was designed with the U.S. market in mind, and some $30 million worth of orders were taken within months of its introduction. In 1954 the XK 120 was replaced with the XK 140, with a more powerful 190-bhp engine. In 1957 Jaguar came out with yet another fabulous car, the XK 150. Jaguar fitted disc brakes to the car and in 1958 a roadster version of the XK 150 was introduced for the U.S.
with the luxury of wind up windows( WOW!!!!!!!!!!). In the 60s Jaguar made its biggest leap yet, as far as sports car production is concerned, the introduction of the Jaguar XKE, a sensation. Putting out a fierce 265 bhp, the Jag leaped to a 6.9 second 0-60 mph time and a top speed of 150 mph. No other car on the market offers speed, handling and, above all, looks of the car at anywhere near the price: $5,620 (1, Highlights in the life of Jaguar). The car became an overnight hit.
As the 70s rolled around Jaguar introduced a much larger V-12 engine to the XK E. Adding the V-12 to the car neither helped nor hurt. In the 1980s Jaguar introduced the XJ 6. The car was approved by all. With the 3.6-liter engine the car put out 225 bhp. The cars looks not only turned heads, but so did the performance of the new Jaguar.
It was not until 1991 that Jaguar introduced the dream car that became a reality, for those who could afford $1,000,000, that is. The XJ 220, was a car loved by all, and why not with 542 bhp a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 213 mph. Who couldnt fall in love with it (5, Jaguars XJ 220)? Through the 90s Jaguar made new updates to the already popular XJ 6 series of cars making them more desirable, and aimed more at the younger generation of enthusiasts. In October of 1996 Jaguar re-established itself as one of the worlds premiere sports car manufacturers with the introduction of the XK 8. The XK 8 is powered by the Advanced Jaguar V8 engine coupled with a custom-developed five speed automatic gearbox. This car delivers world-class performance. Seeing that todays success of the Jaguar still lives on, I would predict that we will see only better to come from the company that has dazzled us with their cars.
The XK E The Jaguar XK E, arguably the most famous sports car of all time, has certainly become a household name and a synonym for speed. The E-type (known in the U.S. as the XK E) was introduced in March, 1961, at the Geneva Motor Show. The car became a big hit, and when I say big, I mean big. The flood of orders, especially from the U.S., increased production plans. Quickly becoming the fantasy of every man, the XK E became the greatest sports car of its time.
The XK E was originally fitted with a 3.8 liter 6 cylinder engine with twin overhead cams, and three SUHD8 carburetors. This configuration produced 265 bhp. The car had a 4 speed transmission, 4 wheel Dunlop disc brakes with rear discs fitted near the differential to reduce the unsprung weight, and independent 4 wheel suspension. In 1964 the 3.8-liter engine was replaced with the 4.2-liter engine. The main improvements were an increase in torque, and a much-needed fully synchronized gearbox. In 1968, the E-types frontal shape was altered to meet U.S.
regulations. The headlights were moved forward three inches and the covers were removed. The turn signals and brake lights were changed and a four-seater version coupe (2+2) was introduced. These changes to satisfy U.S. regulations cost quite a few miles per hour in top speed and extra fuel consumption. This was the beginning of the end for the E-type.
The top speed dropped to 120 mph, and Jaguar had to make some changes to restore the performance. In 1971 in order to spice up the E-type, the V-12 engine was installed. With the additional weight and bulk, the car became an exceedingly fast tourer rather than a racing sports car. The car produced 325 bhp without the emissions controls but only 272 bhp in the U.S. version.
The policy of Federal strangulation became more intense until in 1974, production of the E-type was discontinued. Looking back through the history of the E-types shows that the first E-types were probably the best pure sports cars ever built, and the series I, 4.2, was the best all around version. Road tests recorded a top speed of 153 mph (180 mph with the optional 2.88 to 1 axle), 0 to 60 in 6.8 seconds and 0 to 100 mph and back to 0 in 20 seconds. If this could not make the above average car enthusiasts head spin, I dont know what could. Being basically the first street legal race car, every speed freak and his brother were after The Big Cat, a car now becoming more valuable by the day.
The XK E is an Investment Currently good E-types are available in the $30,000 range for roadsters with the coupes averaging about 75% of the roadsters (2, Bob Kennon). However rare, good, solid, unrestored, original cars are occasionally found in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. Project cars are available in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. However, extensive metal work may be required since these cars had a tendency to rust badly. If you were to buy a Jaguar XK E it is almost safe to say that is a secure investment. Being one of few cars to never lose value after being driven off the show room floor, I would bet that the car will not drop in value any time soon.
Spending $10,000 now could easily be an investment toward a son or daughters college education in the future. If not that then, just the most awesome Sunday driver that was ever put in your garage. I have plans of some day buying a Jaguar E-type, preferably the roadster version. You cant go wrong with the dazzling good looks of the drop top. This car that I knew little about, until I started this paper, has become the car that I see when I picture myself racing around corners.
The car that I used to see myself in, is my now prize possession, a 1973 Porsche 914 with the 2.0 engine with my wonderfully added dual Weber carburetors. My heart is still with the tiny wonder car that rides on rails, but to have a restored Jaguar XK E roadster at my disposal, is enough to send shivers up my spine just thinking about it. First I have to find one of the rare colossal machines, then come up with the funding that could probably put me through college and then some. Some day the car of our dreams will be parked in parking bay 1 of my personal garage. Of course it will be followed by a Porsche 550 Spyder, a Ferrari California Spyder GT250, and then the family monster truck, and the family sedan (a 1995 Impala SS), and of course the wifes Lexus.
Well, I suppose I can keep going on and on or maybe you get the picture and will want one of your own someday, an E-type that is. It comes with the money, I guess. One is only to find out by experience.